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Respect & Kindness

Jan 08 2024

Extra Cranky at Airports?

Try a Different Approach ...

This month America remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As his national holiday approaches, let’s consider one of his least known quotations …

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.

These words remind us that we all come from different places, different backgrounds, different perspectives, but that it is our duty, as members of the human race, to get along with one another and to treat each other with kindness.

While King did not always speak of kindness per se, nearly everything he said points in that direction. We can sum up his philosophies this way: let us show each other kindness.

Those of us who work at airports are acutely aware of kindness, or, sometimes, the lack of it.

Let’s rewrite Dr. King’s quote …

We have all come from different places, but now we’re all at the same airport, and getting on the same plane!

When you work at an airport you quickly learn that flying, and travel in general, stresses people out. Customer reviews left on the airport’s Google Business page illustrate the point …

Image of airport review in which the reviewer actually reviews their hotel

Yes, this fellow was so stressed that he put his hotel review on the airport’s page.

On the other hand, this review hits the intended target …

When you read airport reviews on a regular basis two things become obvious: 1) travel is stressful and annoying, and 2) many of us are already stressed. Adding the annoyances of travel pushes some of us to the boiling point.

How do we turn down the temperature? Here at the Springfield airport, we try to make sure that travel annoyances that we can control occur infrequently. But please know that annoyances can and will occur — despite what some think, there’s nothing an airport can do about weather in Chicago that canceled their flight.

We also try to be kind. We’re not always successful, but we try …

Image of an airport review in which the reviewer generally likes the airport

Image of airport review in which the reviewer says everyone at the airport was kind and helpful.

What can you do make your travels less stressful? Think about Dr. King’s boat, and keep these thoughts in mind:
  • Hit others with kindness and do it early.
  • When flying you’ll be with people from all over the world. They will have different principles, opinions, and beliefs. So, adjust your expectations. You’re not the only one who’s stressed!
Image of airport review in which the reviewer says that TSA sang Happy Birthday to her.
  • See someone with a small child or infant? Offer to help them.
  • Share a snack.
  • Be patient and understanding. If things don’t go smoothly, offer encouragement rather than frustration.
Image of airport review in which the reviewer says that friendly people make a huge difference.
  • Offer to help someone who is obviously distressed and in need of help.

  • Treat everyone with respect. More often than not, it will be returned.
  • Ask someone “How are you today?” Often times people are pleasantly surprised that you asked.

And finally, ask yourself a question that comes from Dr. King …

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’



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